Dee Caffari admits she's had just about enough of the Southern Ocean 15/3/06

Date 14 March and 2318

Position S 42° 8’/ E 76° 53′

I can honestly say I am reaching the end of my patience with this Southern Ocean. All the weather allows me to do is get beaten up by gale or storm force winds for 24 hours then it will ease allowing me to increase sail area again for 24 hours then I put it all away again only to get beaten up by the next depression or storm that comes along. I am emotionally and physically tired of it all. I dream to be just simply sailing for more than a day without preparing for a storm or recovering from a storm. I have a memory from months ago now, of sailing with the sun on my face. I long to return to that now, especially as I can feel my resolve fading rapidly.

This morning I faced a cold front from a depression to the south of me and it was much more ferocious than we anticipated. As the front went through and I needed to tack, I was on deck in rain and hail with a windshift of 60 degrees and gusts in excess of 50 knots. I couldn’t even open my eyes to see what was going on. It was unbelievable. In conditions like that I have learnt that it is easier to furl the headsail away and gybe rather than try and tack. So that is what I did and then I re-set the headsail on the other side. It was an incredible sea with massive walls of water sweeping across the deck. An amazing site seeing as it had developed in a relatively short time. What was an even bigger surprise was that after five hours of these horrible conditions the wind started to ease and all was well with the world again.

Even more frustrating is the fact that at the moment the wind has died to nearly nothing and the sails are flapping as the swell rocks Aviva. Hopefully it will return from the north and we will set off again and yet again I will go from no breeze to strong gale force winds or above in another tropical depression that is heading my way for tomorrow afternoon. So yet again I go from having just increased my sail are to reducing it to prepare for a storm.

I would love to have some better news to share with you all but I am afraid that in all these complex weather conditions it is difficult to achieve anything and I am finding it even harder to keep my morale up.

When we were cruising as a family and the conditions deteriorated, my Dad always used to tell us it would get better once we rounded the corner. At the time I found it funny as there are no corners when crossing the channel, but the metaphorical corner he was referring to in my case now, is actually physical and is called the Cape of Good Hope. So my Dad was right after all.

Dee and Aviva